Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Business Chat - Packaging

People like pretty packaging, especially at Christmas time. Men especially like it, the relief on some faces when you give them their purchase already gift-wrapped is hilarious! This year I’ll be posting a sign in my booth and on my website “All items are gift-wrapped!” (Note to self: on my task list add make a sign about packaging and update the website.)

Packaging to me is anything that goes into getting the work into a customers hands. It’s the pretty box, the sticker on the box, the business card or contact card in the bag, the thank you card in the envelope, the bubble mailer envelope, the ribbons, the tissue paper, everything!

Here’s the work list for the packaging exercise:

  1. Create a package that you would give to a customer and another package that you would mail out. From this make a list of every piece of packaging you use.

  2. Beside each piece of packaging write down the supplier name and the product SKU

  3. If you want new packaging search online for this. Good websites to start at are:,,,

  4. Take an inventory of what you currently have in stock

  5. Calculate how much you will need for the upcoming season

  6. Make a shopping list

  7. Put dates on the shopping list

The question is how much packaging will I need? Hmmm.
Here’s a way to calculate this. I have a target sales number for the season. From the discussion on inventory I have guesstimated what that target number breaks down into.
Let’s say that I make the following (the prices are average):

Necklaces $100
Pendants $30
Bracelets $50

Using this example, I can say that $1,000 in sales is:

2 Necklaces $200
8 Pendants $240
6 Bracelets $300
13 Earrings 260

for every $1,000 in sales I sell 29 items. If each item comes in 1 box then I’ll need 29 boxes. Let’s say your sales goal for the season is $5,000. Using this example you will need 5 x 29 = 114 boxes or bags.

Me, I use several different boxes or bags depending on the item. Smaller (cheaper) work such as earrings goes into a different package than a large (expensive) piece. For my $5,000 sales goal I expect to sell 10 necklaces so I’ll need 10 large boxes. I would buy 15 just in case I sell more than I think (fingers crossed). My packaging supplier carries the large boxes individually or in cases of 100. While it is cheaper to buy them by the case I opt to buy them individually. I don’t want to have 90 extra boxes left over and I may not want to use the same packaging for the next 4 years.

Tips to think about:

  • If someone buys 4 items each piece should be in it’s own bag/box. It’s a good idea to have a larger bag (paper tote bags work well) so that you can put multiple items into them. Plain brown bags work well but look boring. Stickers with your company name are great (if you don’t want to order a lot print them off using an inkjet printer and labels from the office supply store). Tie the handles with ribbon to make it more personalized.

  • Always put a “contact card” into each package! If the item is given as a gift, make sure the recipient knows how to find you to order more. The contact card must have business name, email, website, phone number on it.

    My contact card also states: “handmade in Canada” and lists the ingredients in the piece. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on the handmade in Canada bit, especially when it’s being sent overseas. And listing what’s in the piece is a no-brainer. While you can tell the buyer this information in person, you can only communicate with the recipient in writing.

  • Much as I would love to decorate the outside of the brown bubble mailer envelope for packaging online orders, I leave these blank. I also never ever write my company name on the envelope. “Jewelry” and pretty packages go missing in the mail far more often than plain brown envelopes with handwritten labels from a person. This was a tip from my post office.

Here’s your homework for this week.
Go ahead and calculate how much packaging you will need.
Check with your packaging supplier how long it takes to order it using the cheapest shipping option. Now put your order dates on your calendar.

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